Periodic Table Puzzle
Lesson 1 of 6
Objective: Students will be able to observe the inherent patterns and predictable format of the periodic table as they assemble the table element by element.
NGSS Standard: MS-PS1-1: Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
DCI: PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter - Substances are made of different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways.
Science & Engineering Practices: (2) Developing and Using Models - develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.
CCC: (1) Patterns - macroscopic patterns are related to the nature of microscopic and atomic-level structures, (5) Energy and Matter - matter is conserved because arms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.
The intent of this lesson is to familiarize students with the make-up and composition of the periodic table. By knowing the structure of the periodic table students can develop a relationship with the periodic table that allows them to use it as a resource in understanding the composition of simple molecules and how the atom arrange themselves in predictable patterns (PS1.A,). By building the table, element by element, students get a sense of where the elements belong and what patterns can be derived from the location of elements. This model serves as a representation of how elements behave during chemical reactions, understanding their placement allows students to make predictions of actual phenomena (SP2).
This lesson helps students visualize the three types of elements on the periodic table: metals, nonmetals, semimetals/metalloids. I want my students to see that each element is an important structure in nature and they structures are never simply destroyed in nature they are just rearranged (CCC5) and that placement of elements reveals a predictable pattern that translates into atomic structure and chemical reactions (CCC1). By connecting this lesson to 'NGSS Nature of Science Appendix H' students can appreciate that 'science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation'.
This lesson should help students develop a classroom culture where curiosity of scientific principles, no matter how complicated, is accepted and encouraged. Having a keen understanding of the periodic table now allows students the ability to make connections later when we discuss chemical reactions and bonding.
To build this puzzle you will need to print out the Periodic Table Puzzle on colored paper of your choosing. I separated all the metals of the periodic paper in one section, the nonmetals in another, and the metalloids (semimetals) in a third. If you prefer, I've included a color version Periodic Table Puzzle - color that can be printed on a color printer. Print out enough copies for each group; I typically have nine groups each period.
If building this lesson is too intimidating or time consuming CPO sells a ready made kit that accomplishes the same objectives CPO Periodic Table Tiles .
Glue each 2" Periodic Table Puzzle piece onto 2" square wooden tiles with Mod Podge glue. Coat several layers to give each square a protective sheen.
I assigned the task to my student teaching assistants (T.A.s) and let them do the entire project.
I've included each puzzle in a gallon zip-lock bag with a copy of the periodic table. Their assignment is to assemble the periodic table then create their own version using a blank periodic table.
As my students are building their puzzles, I circulate around the room and ask the students questions about what patterns they may see in the periodic table. i specifically ask them to notice the three types of elements and how similar reacting elements tend to line up vertically, i.e. hydrogen (Exploding Hydrogen Balloon Demonstration) and sodium (Sodium Reaction Demonstration) are both examples of highly reactive elements that line up vertically.
I keep the blank periodic table worksheet up front and have the students walk up to pick them up when they are ready. Otherwise, I have students who work on the worksheet and not the puzzle.
They are allowed to work as a team. The work must include:
2) atomic numbers
3) element symbols
4) stair-step (identifying line for the metalloids/semimetals)
5) three colors, identify metals, nonmetals, and metalloids/semimetals